the further adventures of

Mike Pirnat

a leaf on the wind

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Mass Effect and Doctor Who: Separated at Composition?

After finishing Mass Effect 2 yesterday (thanks, Bioware!), I found myself with the moving "Suicide Mission" music from the game's finale stuck in my head. But in a surprising twist, my brain suddenly shifted it, and before I realized what had happened, it had transformed into Murray Gold's "I Am the Doctor" theme from the recent Doctor Who series.

I've spent the past 30-some hours going back and forth between these two pieces, sometimes aloud and sometimes just thinking through them in my head, mostly just letting them dance in and out of one another and, frankly, starting to go a little crazy with them.

So now I'm trying to excise the madness by passing it on to you. (You're welcome.)

Start by listening to Jack Wall's "Suicide Mission" from ME2, starting around 42 seconds in up to about 2:10:

Okay, got that?

Now listen to the first 48 seconds or so of "I Am the Doctor", before it takes off into the wild, bombastic stuff:

Hopefully your brain just exploded a little bit.

But wait, there's more! There's a whole choral bit in each as well!

Take a listen to "I Am the Doctor" from 2:15 through 2:50:

And then "Suicide Mission" from 3:16 through about 4:15:

There's even a quieter, more subdued choral bit in each, just in a different order; "I Am the Doctor" gets it from about 2:50 through 3:40:

And "Suicide Mission" chills out from about 2:09 until 2:48:

The piece from the series 6 finale, "The Majestic Tale (of a Madman in a Box)", takes the similarity even further by pulling down the tempo and cranking up the brooding epicness:

What do you think? Am I high? On to something? Bit of both? Do you have a favorite piece that feels borrowed from somewhere else? Comment away! (Note: James Horner or Danny Elfman scores need not apply, unless incorporating or being incorporated by another work.)

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97/365: How to Save the Galaxy

97/365: How to Save the Galaxy

Yeah, I know all the cool kids played through Mass Effect 2 ages ago, but I'm on kind of a delayed gaming cycle, so I'm just now experiencing this gem.

I had a good, long binge yesterday as I cleaned up side missions and DLC (Lair of the Shadow Broker was amazing!) in anticipation of starting into the endgame this weekend, so it seemed fitting to memorialize the things I'd interacted with the most during the day: game, controller, and iPad.

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You Nuked My Battlestar!

Pretty much out of nowhere, I suddenly decided that what the world really needs is a Battlestar Galactica-themed version of the classic Battleship game. Besides the obvious cool factor of having a board full of miniature BSG ships, I think there's a lot of depth to be added by tweaking the rules a little bit:

  • The human player can choose to "jump the fleet" rather than firing a shot, allowing the player to rearrange the locations of all of their ships.
  • The Cylon player can return any destroyed ship to the board per turn until the destruction of their resurrection ship, in addition to their normal "take a shot" action. If the Cylon player doesn't have any destroyed ships, they can instead opt to repair one "hit" from a non-resurrection ship per turn in addition to firing a shot, so long as the resurrection ship is still in play.
  • Both sides have a limited number of nuclear weapons which, rather than targeting a single point on the game grid, will have a several-coordinate blast radius. Nukes are only available to their respective players so long as there are battlestars or basestars in play.
  • The Cylon player has a number of sleeper agents in the human fleet; the Cylon player can opt to activate a sleeper instead of firing, which will result in one hit against a human ship of the human player's choosing.
  • The human player may sacrifice a battlestar to destroy a Cylon basestar.
  • After some as-yet-undertermined number of turns, the human player can produce a stealth Viper, which can be relocated on the grid every turn or which can be sacrificed to learn the location of the Cylon resurrection ship.
  • After some as-yet-undetermined number of turns, the human player gets a second battlestar.
  • And, if you're not afraid of Season 4 spoilers, if the human and Cylon player get tired of endlessly killing each other, they can opt to partner up and "go find Earth," at which point the game is over and they both lose.

Cylon raiders and heavy raiders seem like one- and two-hit vessels to me, while the Colonial Vipers and Raptors are probably single-hit ships. Basestars should be relatively large (suggesting a much larger field of play than the standard Battleship grid) and maintain a six-pronged X shape target profile. Battlestars would probably need to be three spaces wide so that the flight pods can take hits too. Obvious choices for other Colonial ships include Colonial One, Cloud 9, Demetrius, the Astral Queen, Daru Mozu (the tylium refinery ship), mining ships, Space Park (the "spinny ship"), and numerous others. Clearly, getting the balance right on both Colonial and Cylon sides would be important to proper gameplay.

The reaction from my coworkers who are also fans has been very positive, so I suspect that if the appropriate corporate behemoths could work out the licensing, they'd at least sell a few units to us. In the mean time, if you feel like giving it a whirl, go for it! The rules definitely need some fine-tuning to make sure gameplay is properly balanced, but they should be at least a good start. If you do end up trying it out, I'd love to hear how it went.

So say we all!

[Edit 7/14/2008 @ 23:19] The collective unconscious appears to have reared its ugly head--turns out I'm not the first to have this idea.

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Can't Take the Sky From Her

I've discovered that Claire responds really, really well to "The Ballad of Serenity" as a lullaby. (That's the theme song from Firefly in case you didn't recognize the title.) I'll sing it softly to her at bedtime or naptime as I hold her and then transfer her to the crib, repeating it as necessary until she drifts off. After three weeks of this, she's learned to konk out within a few minutes with hardly a complaint.

I feel like I need to mail a check to Joss Whedon or something.

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Mid-August Link-o-Rama

Taking a bit of a break from Germany photos and work to close some Firefox tabs and share some linky joy:

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Dr. WTF?

I grew up watching "Dr. Who" on the PBS station out of Albuquerque, usually late at night, and in my earliest experiences, with my hands over my eyes to protect me from those damned terrifying Daleks. My inner four-year-old can still hear the cries of "EXTERMINATE!" echo in the darkness of my childhood bedroom. As I got older, I got hip to exactly how low-budget the FX were, and love replaced fear. Sure, the scripts were pretty dreadful, the sets and effects worse, but the show had a charm and earnestness that were really endearing, much the same way that the first Star Wars or the original "Star Trek" did. It was goofy, geeky, cheesy, but it had soul.

I was pretty upset when the BBC, in its infinite wisdom, decided to cancel the good doctor, and I had almost completely given up hope of it ever starting back up again after years of on-again, off-again rumors (and one made-for-TV film that was too flawed and too off-mainstream to have ever gone anywhere, despite some glimmers of potential). When I heard that there was to be a new series, and that it would run on the Sci-Fi Network--so I wouldn't even have to worry about being an evil internet pirate, g'yarr!--I leapt to the Tivo with all the glee of being a little kid again...

A little kid who was about to get his childhood crapped all over.

So... Gosh. Wow. I watched the premiere on Friday night, and I'm simply stunned by its awfulness. It's the sort of thing that makes Jar-Jar Binks seem like a pretty good idea.

The new version of the theme music strikes me as pretty bad, and it runs on top of a really ugly opening sequence that looks like a cross between the time-travel sequences in the Bill & Ted movies and the giant, swooshy block letters of Superman. There's almost constant incidental music throughout the entire show, and it is reliably inappropriate and awkward throughout; the least offensive stuff is like a Casio keyboard demo on speed, while the worst is, quite literally, a Britney Spears track. The effects are just as low budget as before, but instead of having the well-intentioned, practical charm of prior incarnations, we are now treated to bad CGI in diarrhea-like abundance (highlights include a character being attacked and eaten by a hungry rubbish bin and the Doctor arguing with a giant mass of molten anger that sloshes around a lot). And the acting... I will admit that the original series were far from great acting, but there was an honesty about it that made you not care. The cast of this latest go-round is pretty well-rounded in its not-very-goodness, but the new Doctor is simply terrible, played completely cartoonishly--and not the good kind of cartoon like the classic Bugs Bunny who has some wit and guile about him, oh, no; this Doctor is Pokemon-grade, Ash Katchum as a Time Lord. And, if you'll permit one more fanboy rant after all that, I am really tired of having the TARDIS set changed every time someone wants to try reviving "Dr. Who." The interior of the TARDIS was what gave the show a needed sense of continuity between regenerations; this "new Doctor, new TARDIS, new music, new everything" approach is just tacky.

Everything about the new show is unconvincing and artificial, a through-and-through phony attempt to cash in on decades of fan support for a beloved and much-missed show. In short, it's missing a soul. Perhaps that was the price of its resurrection.

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Better Living Through Photoshop

I've been totally stressed out by work lately, which means that, at some point, my head exploded and I found myself with a desperate need to play with Photoshop for a while. Thus: a crapload of new LJ icons!

Art of Noise x3
Mike Oldfield x5
Firefly/Serenity x9
Princess Bride x17

Art of Noise
(because I had no music-related icons)

Mike Oldfield
(because I had no music-related icons)

(because I just can't get enough)

The Princess Bride
(in honor of Valentine's Day)

Typical LJ netiquette applies--please credit me in your userpic keywords or comments if you snag any. Enjoy!

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I broke down and picked up the first season of the new "Battlestar Galactica" show on DVD as a bonus Christmas gift to myself, using a coupon attached to the Serenity DVD as an excuse. In the past week and a half, we've blown through both the season 1 DVD set as well as the season 2.0 set, and I am now thoroughly addicted. I've even managed to Tivo the new episodes from the past couple of weeks, so I am almost completely and totally caught up, and ready to feel the pain of having to wait a week or more between new episodes.

I don't have time or energy to launch into a big, deconstructive "why it's great and you should watch it too" post, but I will say this:

It's like an entire series of End of Evangelion.

This statement will probably make more sense if you've seen Evangelion; if you haven't, you should watch that too.

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